Here are some rules for cooking. They are based heavily on these rules and inspired by Skerple's Eating the Monster Manual and Eating the Veins of the Earth, as well as this post by Cacklecharm.
This post can be considered an unofficial part 2 to a series on non-magical healing. Part 1 is here and the post that inspired both, my Death and Dismemberment tables, are here.
Eating food restores Fighting Spirit (FS - ie 'Grit'). Depending on the quality of the food, ingredients and the skill of the chef, the more FS it restores.
To prepare food, you must succeed on a Cooking Check. The base DC of this check is 10 and varies depending on the following modifiers.
Cooking Check Modifiers:
- You have fire or a stove (-1)
- You have utensils (-1)
- You have pots and pans (-1)
- You have spices (-1)
- You have water (-1)
- You have fresh ingredients (-1)
- The person primarily preparing the dish (rolling the Check) is a skilled cook (-X, where X is the number of ranks they have in the Cooking skill)
- You are cooking with a rare, difficult to use ingredient (+1)
- You are cooking with a poisonous ingredient (+1)
- You are using ingredients preserved for travel, e.g. dried, dehydrated, pickled (+2)
- You are cooking with a magical ingredient (+2)
- You are attempting to cook a Fine meal (+2)
- You are attempting to cook an Exquisite meal (+4)
If you fail a Cooking Check, the ingredients or food you used is wasted. Eating it restores 1d4 FS.
Fine Food and Excellent Service:
There are four levels of quality a Meal can fit into: Poor, Basic, Fine and Exquisite.
Poor Meals are not true meals at all, requiring no cooking. If you scarf down a ration while on the road or while crouched around the last few embers of your campfire, that is a Poor meal. Poor Meals heal 1d6+[your level] FS.
Basic Meals require a minimum of 2 ingredients and cooking. They take a minimum of 1 hour to prepare or the length of a Short Rest. Basic Meals heal 1d8+[your level] FS.
Fine Meals require a minimum of 4 ingredients and cooking. One of these ingredients must be rare, fresh or magical. Fine Meals require at least 2 hours to prepare. A Fine Meal restores 1d10+[your level].
Exquisite Meals require a minimum of 10 ingredients. Half of these ingredients must be rare, fresh or magical. Exquisite Meals require 1d4+2 hours to prepare. An Exquisite Meal restores 1d12+[your level] FS.
Note that leftovers from meals do not provide the same benefits and count as normal rations or a Poor Meal.
If you kill a creature and butcher it, preparing the meat, you can divide it into a number of portions. Each portion is equivalent to a Ration.
At minimum, a creature needs at least 1 Ration or an equivalent amount of food to maintain its' body. If it doesn't receive this much food it starts to take STR damage as its' body starts to break down muscle to feed itself.
A butchered corpse provides a number of Rations equal to 2 + HD. So a 1 HD Deer will give you 3 Rations, a 6 HD Buffalo will give you 8 Rations and a 8 HD Elephant will give you 10.
Does this mean that a small party of adventurers could feed themselves by exclusively killing and eating towns-people, drifters and criminals? Yes, it does. However, it should be noted that eating your own species will turn you into a Ghoul and eating the flesh of creatures not belonging to your own race will turn you into a Wendigo. It's also extremely taboo, for the above reason as well as others.